The year 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of Mabada Plains Project archaeological research in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The Madaba Plains Project is one of the longest-lived, continuously running archaeological excavation projects in the Middle East. Spanning four decades, the project, with its beginnings at Tall Hisban in the late sixties, has engaged 1,500 participants, produced scores of publications and spawned a dozen other projects. Its legacy includes being one of the first major Near Eastern archaeology projects to adopt a multi-millennial, regional approach; to incorporate ethnoarchaeology and environmental studies; to construct data around a food-systems' approach; and to computerize procedures for archaeological data acquisition and analysis, thus helping advance both the theoretical underpinnings and the field methods of archaeology in the southern Levant and beyond. Madaba Plains Project directors, wishing to celebrate this major scientific and historical milestone, have produced this anniversary volume which: highlights the value of ongoing collaborative research across the region of central Jordan, attempting to explain life and survival from the Bronze ages through the Islamic and early modern periods and features the latest results from ongoing research; enlivens the discussion by hearing from major scholars in the field who, in the process of assessing the contributions of the project to the archaeology of the southern Levant, broaden the discussion in the context of ancient Near Eastern archaeological research; and, expands the horizons of the project's research by presenting the ever enlarging number and extent of projects conducted by dig directors once on staff with the Madaba Plains Project, thereby taking readers all over Jordan and beyond.
Douglas R. Clark is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Archaeology at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, and Director of the University Honors Program. Having authored, co-authored, and co-edited eight volumes, including 100 Years of American Archaeology in the Middle East and Ancient Ammonites and Modern Arabs, he has published and presented widely. He currently directs the Tall al-`Umayri excavations.
Larry G. Herr is Professor of Religious Studies at Canadian University College in Lacombe, Alberta. An extremely widely published archaeologist, he is Associate Editor of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research and has served for 12 seasons as co-director of the Tall al-`Umayri excavations. He is chief editor of the series of preliminary and seasonal published reports, the latter in the Madaba Plains Project-`Umayri series.
Oystein S. LaBianca is Professor of Anthropology and Associate Director, Institute of Archaeology at Andrews University in Michigan. He is senior director of the Tall Hisban excavations.
Randall W. Younker is Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Archaeology at Andrews University in Michigan.